The State of California was one of the first states to launch an open data repository. Data.CA.gov was designed to provide a single source of raw data in the state. By posting state government data in raw, machine-readable formats, it can be reformatted and reused in different ways, allowing the public greater access to build custom applications in order to analyze and display the information. Data.CA.gov provides information and raw data on the economy, public health, transportation, environment, and more on this single website.

The centralized data repository allows the public to find, use, and repackage the volumes of data generated by the State. Prior to the advent of Data.CA.gov it was difficult to find raw data in various places throughout government. By publishing the data in different formats, the public is empowered to use government data in creative ways. The data is provided in variety of formats including CSV, XLS, KML, TXT, and XML, making it easy for individuals to create mashups, build applications, conduct analysis, and perform research. The site also provides access to state data files, databases, and geographic data. Other sources of information available to the public include:

  • Vital statistics such as population, birth, death, and marriage data
  • More than 50 million data records on education
  • Imports and exports through California ports
  • Traffic counts on state highways
  • Driving statistics, fatalities, accidents, and injuries
  • Travel and tourism
  • Water data
  • Cal-Atlas, which provides geospatial data and allows others to contribute their
    geospatial data

The growing demand for transparency in government prompted the State to create an open data mine to help citizens access raw data quickly and easily. Locating data is one of the most popular tasks on CA.gov, so the goal was to create a single source of information in one place. Prior to the creation of California’s open data mine, individuals had to visit multiple state agency websites to find data, and it was not always in an open format (e.g., PDF, Word). Many clicks were required to get to this information.

Due to the vast number of open data records the State discovered through the creation of Data.CA.gov, which holds more than 100 million data records, the State plans to expand the site to encourage reuse of government data. The State is continuing to improve its Data.CA.gov website, making state government data available in easy to find and usable formats. The new version of Data.CA.gov launched in May 2010, and it includes a powerful search, featured datasets, charts, graphs, and a more user-friendly interface.

For more information about Data.ca.gov, contact us.

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